Workout Wednesday – 221 Days to Go

Workout WednesdayI can’t believe how fast time is going – it seems like yesterday that I had a full year of training left, and now I’m closing in on 7 months.  I’m not as fast as I wanted to be at this point on the bike or the run and it’s going to be another doubling down to get to the end.

I tried for an open water swim but, as you’re about to read, it didn’t happen. What did happen was that I had a really interesting conversation with a gentleman who asked me what I was training for. When I told him, he asked “have you ever heard of Kona?” (Kona is where the IRONMAN World Championships happen – it’s a big deal to qualify and race there.)  I told him of course, and he told me that he had done Kona twice in the nineties on the old course.

The conversation almost went wrong we he non-sequitered and started to tell me his “reservations” about me doing an IRONMAN but I put a big smile on my face and said “I don’t have any interest at all in hearing about that, but I’d love to hear more about your experiences at Kona!”  To his credit he apologized and then gave me some great reminders about dealing with the highs and lows of training and completing the event, and savoring the life experiences. He congratulated me on wanting to take such a difficult journey, and wished me luck and then we went our separate ways.  It was quite lovely.

Speaking of life experiences, here are this week’s workouts:


Biking – Speedwork

I’m definitely enjoying doing the intervals on the bike and not the trainer. It was a good ride, the focus of these intervals is heart rate and I hit my heart rate targets, as well as hitting my eating and drinking targets so, success!


Day off. Glorious, wonderful day off!


Hollywood 5k


I told y’all about this one on Sunday.  Several of you e-mailed and asked what I meant when I said that it was a long way from gun start to chip start. “Gun start” is when the race officially starts and the first person crosses the start line. Because in races like this with thousands of people it can take a really long time to get to the starting line, “chip start” is when you (or more specifically, the timing chip you are wearing) actually cross the starting line. “Gun time” includes the time you were standing around waiting for your race to start, “chip time” includes only the time it took you to get from the start to the finish. So if someone had no idea how these types of events work work, they might think that my time was 1:38:04, when it was actually 1:05:51 (of course it wouldn’t matter, I would have been fine with either time) Now you know, and knowing is half the battle!

Long walk

After waking up ridiculously early for the 5k, I got home, stretched, took a shower and then took a nap. I then woke up just in time to do another walk/run.  Awesome!  This did not go great, I didn’t make my time goals and I felt pretty much like crap, but I pushed to the end so there’s victory in not giving up.


Hard Ass Ride

This ride got changed up.  Instead of just riding as hard as I can, it’s now a set of intervals with specific time goals. This was just flat out difficult but I made my intervals and my time goals.


Open Water Swim – Or Not

I got to the swim area and there was no one else there, which was odd. I got into the water to my shoulders and proceeded to try to acclimate to 50 degree water (the open water swimming I’ve done up to this point has been in warmer water and warmer air temperature) A guy ran up to tell me that swimming in the water wasn’t safe because of the recent rain. As I was getting out of the water and grabbing my bad I met the guy you were telling me about.

Since the ocean was closed for business I headed to the pool. This was just a long swim rather than the speed work we’d been doing.  I was worried that maybe I had lost my stamina since I’ve only been doing intervals with breaks in between. It felt good, and my speed was really good.  I’m excited to be able to do more open water work soon.

Strength Workout

Woot! Still my favorite workout by a large margin.


Long Bike Ride

The goals on this ride are to hold a heart rate, drink every 10 minutes, and eat every 30.  I hit all three goals, woo hoo. I’m getting better at tolerating food on these rides which is a good sign as the long rides get longer.


Strength Workout

Damn I love these workouts!

Speedwork  – Walk

Despite having a lot of speedwork on my schedule, I’m not as fast as I want to be, and I’m not getting faster as fast as I want to be. We’ve done perceived exertion (ie: intervals of going as hard as I could possibly go, with intervals of slower walking.) That worked for a while but then I plateaued. We tried pacing using my Garmin but the inconsistencies that are inherent in the watch created a situation where the only reason that I didn’t throw it into the ocean was because I was afraid the tide would bring the little fucker back to me.

Enter cadence work, doing the entire workout accompanied by the incessant beeping of a metronome.  Super happy fun time, right?! I’ve flirted with the metronome before but now it looks like we’re in for a more long term commitment.  In good news, I was able to hold the cadences, which I wasn’t able to do in the past.  And although it wasn’t as fast as I wanted to be, it was faster than I’ve been.  It was also really, really hard- the cadence got faster for each mile and by the end of the last mile I was barely hanging on but I made it, I feel really good about this workout.

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff!

IRONMAN Sale:  I’m having an ongoing sale on my books,  DVDs and downloads to help pay for my IM – you get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! To check it out, you can go to No money?  No problem!  If you feel like it, you can leave a comment or send me an e-mail ( saying something encouraging, that’s incredibly helpful as well!

If you have questions about my IRONMAN journey  the FAQ might help!

If you’re looking for a place to talk about fitness from a weight neutral perspective, check out the Fit Fatties Forum. and the Fit Fatties Facebook page.

Book Me!  I’m a professional speaker and I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information on topics, previous engagements and reviews here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!


About danceswithfat

Hi, I’m Ragen Chastain. Speaker, Writer, Dancer, Choreographer, Marathoner, Soon to be IRONMAN, Activist, Fat Person.
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4 Responses to Workout Wednesday – 221 Days to Go

  1. gsantollo says:

    Good for you! I’m glad you were able to keep the conversation productive. When it comes to ironman the only size that matters is the size of your will. I already know you will be a finisher; just keep putting in the work.


  2. Heidi says:

    I know on itunes music can be categorized by beats per minute–maybe that could help?


  3. lsstrout says:

    Glad someone got out out of the water before something bad happened.


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